Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happpy New Year!

It's that time again - the end of one year and the beginning of the new - 2015.  I have been reflecting as most of us do on the year just ending and goals for the next.  One goal we have as PG Fiber2Art is to clarify our business expectations and work to build on the successes of 2014.  To that end we will be participating in the Creative Arts Business Summit this spring, as well as a "business boot camp" for the first 3 months of 2015.  Hopefully that will help us clarify where we want to go with PG Fiber2Art and fabric surface design!

Another thing I have determined to do in the new year is to get some UFO's off the "to do" list.  Vicki Welsh of Field Trips in Fiber is hosting a UFO Bust on her blog for 2015, where you can link up to join her in this pursuit.  The extra accountability is always a motivator for me, so I will likely be doing this, as well as nagging my partner Elizabeth to join up and finish a piece called Forest Floor.  For me I have actually gotten a start on this by pulling out a project that's been waiting to be finished.  I call it Winter Oaks, and would like to submit it for a show, so that's another motivator there - nothing like a deadline to get things moving.   I'm thinking that a realistic goal would be to promise myself that I have to finish one project for every new one I start.  We'll see how that goes!

Here are a couple of shots of quilting progress on Winter Oaks.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Inspirational Book

I received a wonderful new book for Christmas - Lesley Riley's Inspirational Quotes Illustrated
The book contains 130 quotes that Lesley has been collecting for over 50 years.  Each page contains a different quote, each illustrated by artists from varying backgrounds - collage, paint, quilt & fiber, beading, paper, watercolor, digital art.   A nice feature is that the pages are perforated so you can post or frame your favorite quotes. 

I have to say that I started reading it while riding in the car and was completely absorbed, page after page.  With one pass through, there were several pages that spoke to me more than others.  Of course I didn't have anything with me to mark them, so it will take a second equally enjoyable read to find them again. 

If you are looking for some new inspiration or motivation in the new year, this may be the book for you!

Friday, December 19, 2014

New Class - Beyond Basic Screen Printing

PG Fiber2Art will be teaching a new class at Artistic Artifacts in February, called Beyond Basic Screen Printing.  This will be a project based class focused on completing a piece of screen printed wall art.  Actually, it will include 2 projects, the first being a ready-made tote bag that we will print on.  We will start off with a quick review of printing techniques and materials (paint, discharge products, thickened dye) and some warm-up on fabric, then move on to the projects.  The wall art will involve taking a print (about 6x9), layering it with batting and doing some simple free motion quilting, and satin stitch the edges.  Then we will cover a 9x12 art canvas with a complementary fabric.  Finally, the print will be stitched to the fabric-covered canvas with a hand running stitch.  Read more about it, the supplies needed, and how to register. Come join us on February 14!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mug Rugs and Embroidered Towels

Finished!  My holiday projects of the last few weeks included mug rugs and embroidered towels. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mug Rug Tutorial

In my last post I mentioned that I would write a tutorial on how I am making the mug rugs.  There are lots of tutorials and patterns out there on the web.  I just made this up based on the sizes of the component pieces I had.  For most of them I worked with a 3-piece format, some ended up with only 2.  I decided on a finished size of approximately 6x8 inches; actually, that is the size I cut the fusible batting that I sewed the pieces to, so with seam allowances they are a bit smaller than that.
I started by cutting and assembling the parts I needed.  Exact measurements varied from one to another based on the size of the embroidery I used.  As long as your parts add up to 6x8, plus seam allowances, it'll work out.  Here the snowflake pieces are about 5 inches wide; the blue is about 5" high and the tan is about 3".  The strip started out about 2" wide, but ended up trimmed down to fit.
I placed the blue piece on top of the fusible batting and flipped the embroidered piece right sides together over the blue, then stitched a 1/4 inch seam through all the layers.

Then it was flipped right side up and pressed.  The fusible batting helps hold things in place.
Next I added the strip.  You can see that its longer than it needs to be.  I just stitched it on, then flipped, pressed and trimmed it down to size.
Here it is after pressing and trimming.  For the back side, I cut 2 rectangles, 6 x 4 3/4 inches.  On each one, I turned a 6" edge to the wrong side and stitched it down.  (Since this is a batik, there's really no difference between right & wrong sides.)

Then I placed the 2 backs right sides together on top of the front, with the stitched edges overlapping at the center.  Note that you see the folded/stitched edge of the fabric; when it is turned right side out it will be on the inside.

Stitch a 1/4 inch seam all the way around the rectangle, back stitching where your stitching overlaps.
Trim all 4 corners diagonally to reduce the bulk when you turn it.
Here the bottom half has been turned right side out.
Here its been turned and pressed.  You could probably  stop here and not do the quilting, but I prefer it quilted.  (If you choose not to quilt, you would need to hand stitch the opening on the back.)
To quilt, I simply stitched straight lines, 1/2 inch apart.  I marked them with chalk first to make the stitching go a little quicker.  The quilting also secures the opening in the back; just be sure everything is pressed flat first.

Back view.  There you have it!  A quick and easy mug rug!  Of course, you can use any combination of fabrics, pieced, printed, embroidered, whatever you have, and any size; tailor them to any occasion.  Whatever you choose to use, have fun!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Embroidery Detour

In the process of getting ready for the Artistic Artifacts open house, I took some time to reacquaint myself with the embroidery capabilities of my DSM.  Really, in the 3 years since I bought my Baby Lock machine, I have only had a "passing acquaintance" with this feature.  With holidays approaching I thought I might want to do some gifts with embroidery and also combine it with the screen printed fabric, so I set out to explore the built in designs, and found several to try.  Here are 2 that I stitched out.

I knew I also had the capability to purchase designs on the internet and download them to my machine, but had never tried it before, so decided it was time.  Better late than never, right?  I have used Embroidery Library in the past so went to their site to see what I could find.  Of course, there was lots to choose from!  Fortunately, I realized that my order history was in my account so I was able to download previously purchased designs in the new format (my old machine was a Pfaff) as well as make new purchases! And the process to transfer to the machine was straightforward.  So, the embroidery component is back in action!  Here are some purchased designs.

The cardinal above was a challenge - much more stitching here.  The problem came when the machine jammed - not once, but twice! Major thread jam under the throat plate.  However I was able to get it resolved and finish stitching, and actually learned a key point about putting the machine back together by reading the manual - fancy that!

 I especially like these 2 redwork designs. 

I think I've shown these in previous posts, but above are 2 mug rugs that combine screen printing and embroidery in the same project. More of these are in progress!  Coming soon - a tutorial on how I made the mug rugs.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Open House

We had lots of fun sharing thermofax screen printing on Saturday at the Artistic Artifacts open house.  There were 4 of us demonstrating different techniques and our printed bookmarks/gift tags were a big hit.  Here are a few pictures from the event.
 These are our samples of bookmarks made with paint chips, gift tags, mug rugs and gift bags.
 Elizabeth is packaging screens, alongside Julie Booth, who was demonstrating printing with food!
 Beth is working on her bookmark and tag.
 If the print isn't the best, no problem!  Just paint the whole thing green, let it dry, and print over it!  We used brown kraft paper as a table cover and practice printing sheet - worked great!
 Showing a young friend how to screen print.
 These are the PG Fiber2Art screens for sale at Artistic Artifacts.We've added a section of special winter holiday screens.
One of the other make and take projects was greeting cards using gift papers and wooden printing blocks.  Lots of creativity going on!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Winter Holiday Screens

Saturday, Dec. 6 we will be at Artistic Artifacts for the annual Open House, where we will be demonstrating screen printing and have some make & take items available.  For this event we have created some new screens and added 4 to the Etsy shop.  These are the 4 new screens in the shop.
On the left is a public domain vintage pine cone from The Graphics Fairy.  It is sized to 2.5 x 1 inch.  On the far right is a grouping of 3 vintage snowflakes, also from Graphics Fairy measuring 2 x 5 3/8 inches.  The two in the center are text screens.  Center left is made up of microwords such as family, cheer, merry, peace, love, etc.  It measures 4 x 7 inches and is great for backgrounds.  Center right is made up of 4 words - Hope, Joy, Peace, Love - and measures 2 x 5 1/4 inches.  Here are some things we've been working on with these and other holiday images.

We will be working on gift tags, bookmarks, component pieces for mug rugs.  What else might you use these designs for? 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"Rituals" Postcard

I have been part of a postcard swap group since 2005 that started as an outgrowth of a workshop at a VCQ meeting (Virginia Consortium of Quilters).  We started with about 15 people making cards 4 times a year and as time has passed, the group has dwindled as well as the swaps per year.   We are now down to 5 people and are sharing cards just twice a year (spring and fall), which really is plenty.  It still provides a challenge but gives us lots of time to contemplate and execute our interpretation of the theme.

The fall swap theme was "rituals".  While the dictionary definition focuses on ritual as a religious rite or ceremony, I went with the interpretation of a routine or repeated action.   Especially since I have retired, I start every day with coffee and the newspaper, so that is what I decided to portray on my card.  I started by taking 2 pictures, one of the Washington Post, the other of my coffee cup. 

With the newspaper photo I made a thermofax screen to print on my background of rust dyed fabric.  For the coffee cup, I used Lesley Riley's Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) to make a transfer. 
I like how the transfer is transparent enough that the newsprint still shows through.  Some simple stitching around the outline of the cup gives it more definition.  After fusing on the back, the edges are finished off with a satin stitch.